South Africa: Ramaphosa Approves $95m Military Extension in Mozambique, DR Congo

South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday, April 25 approved the extension of the military deployment in DR Congo and Mozambique, according to his office. Earlier, on April 7, while in Kigali, he said that a political solution is needed to end the crisis in eastern DR Congo.

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An April 24 statement by the Presidency of the Republic of South Africa noted that President Ramaphosa "has informed the National Assembly and the (acting) Speaker on the extension of the employment of the South African National Defense Force (SANDF) in various international obligations." The extension, as noted, is for services in fulfilment of significant international duties in Mozambique, DR Congo and South African Development Community (SADC) Maritime security strategy.

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The extensions are estimated to cost over US$95 million.

The statement reads: "The President has extended the employment of one thousand four hundreds and nine five (1495) members of the SANDF for service in fulfilment of an international obligation of the Republic of South Africa towards the SADC Region. The deployment will help combat acts of terrorism and violent extremists affecting the northern areas of Mozambique under Operation VIKELA.

"Members of the SANDF employed will continue with their responsibilities of combating acts of terrorism and violent extremism, over the period 16 April 2024 to 31 December 2024 at the expenditure estimate of R984, 368, 057."

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The extended employment of 1,198 members of the SANDF is for service in fulfilment of an international obligation towards the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission (MONUSCO) in DR Congo. "Lastly the 200 members of the SANDF extension of employment is for the fulfilment of an international obligation towards SADC Maritime Security Strategy ("SADC MSS"). This deployment will help counter the threat of piracy and other related illegal maritime activities along the Southern African coast of the Indian Ocean."

Besides contributing troops to the UN mission in DR Congo, South Africa also deployed troops to the east of the country, where a SADC mission was sent to support a Congolese government-led coalition fighting the M23 rebel group.

South Africa's military deployments abroad have been criticised at home.

Four SANDF soldiers were killed in combat zones in DR Congo in February and March. South Africa's opposition parties accused Ramaphosa of sending SANDF soldiers into a war zone they were not prepared for.

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